Trinity Sunday 2021: Living In Gods Providence
The greatest manifestation of God's power was not in creation but in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, when Satan was defeated. For it says in (Ephesians 1:19-20). “Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know....what is the immeasurable greatness of Gods power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.” The crucifixion of Jesus was the worst evil ever committed in man's history. It was also the very best thing that ever happened on this earth. If God is powerful enough to convert the worst event of history into the very best, then you can be certain that He will turn everything that happens in your life also into something glorious for you. “For we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose to be saints.” (Romans 8:28).
Do all things really work together for good? Consider the following:
*A baby is born with serious birth defects. The doctors tell the distraught parents she won’t live more than a few hours. When the parents take the baby home, the doctors tell them not to bring her back because there is nothing they can do. A few months later she dies.
*In the Central African Republic, roving gangs of Muslims with machetes and guns have killed hundreds of fleeing Christians. “They are slaughtering us like chickens,” one man said.
*Called by God to the mission field, a Man moves to Libya so he can teach in the International School where he is greatly beloved by his students. One day while he is out jogging near his home, some men in a black vehicle pull up and start shooting. They drive away, leaving his dead body on the street. He was only 33 years old.
*A police officer stops a man known to be a drug dealer. It happens on a busy downtown street and a crowd gathers to watch the unfolding drama. There is a struggle and somehow the drug dealer grabs the officer’s gun. Someone in the crowd yells, “Shoot him, man.” He does, at point-blank range, in the face. The officer was in his early twenties.
*A youth group returns from a week of summer camp. When they are only one mile from home, the bus crashes as it exits the freeway, hitting a concrete abutment and rolling over. Dozens are injured. The youth minister, his wife, and their unborn baby are killed in the crash along with one of the adult counselors, a mother of five children.
These stories are all true. I am sure you could add many others to the list.
Of all the questions that trouble the hearts of God’s people, none is the greater than the question Why? No matter how many sermons we hear or how many rosaries we pray, the question returns again and again. Why did this happen?
When we see the pain of a fallen world, we wonder, “Where is God?”
Over the centuries the greatest minds have wrestled with the problem of pain and suffering and still the questions come:
(Isaiah 45:15) says that "Verily thou art a hidden God, Thou art a God who hides himself " in the way He works. And in today's readings we hear from Saint Paul, “How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!” In other words, “How impossible it is for us to understand His methods" (Romans 11:33).
When I study the life of Joseph of the Old Testament, and all that he went through, I am impressed over and over again that the real hero of Joseph’s story is not Joseph. It’s God. Joseph’s life illustrates perhaps better than any other story in the Bible a profound truth: “How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!” (Romans 11:33).
Still the questions hang in the air. We wonder why things happen the way they do, why a teacher in Libya is shot and killed, why the bus didn’t make it to the church, why the baby was born with such disabilities.
Why do these things happen? Why do they happen to good, decent people? Why do they happen to people who love the Lord?
There is a doctrine that helps us understand. If it does not answer every question, at least it provides the only possible basis for understanding. It is the doctrine of the providence of God. In English the words “Divine providence” has two parts. It’s pro and video put together, literally meaning “to see before.” It refers to considering God Himself in that act by which in His wisdom He so orders all events within the universe that the end for which it was created may be realized. A shorter definition is“God’s gracious oversight of the universe.” Every one of those words is important. God’s providence is one aspect of his grace. Oversight means that he directs the course of affairs. The word universe tells us that God not only knows the big picture, he also concerns himself with the tiniest details.
Here are five statements that unfold the meaning of God’s providence in more detail:
He upholds all things.
He governs all events.
He directs everything to its appointed end.
He does this all the time and in every circumstance.
He does it always for His own glory.
The doctrine of Divine Providence teaches us several important truths: First, God cares about the tiniest details of life. Nothing escapes his notice for he is concerned about the small as well as the big. In fact, with God there is no big or small. He knows when a sparrow falls and he numbers the hairs on your head. He keeps track of the stars in the skies and the rivers that flow to the oceans. He sets the day of your birth, the day of your death, and he ordains everything that comes to pass in between. Second, he uses everything and wastes nothing. There are no accidents with God, only incidents. This includes events that seem to us to be senseless tragedies. Third, God’s ultimate purpose is to shape His children into saints, and to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
“For we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose to be saints. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:28-29). He often uses difficult moments and human tragedies to accomplish that purpose.
The doctrine of God’s providence is really a combination of four other attributes:
Sovereignty—He is in control
Predestination—He is in charge of how everything turns out
Wisdom—He makes no mistakes
Goodness—He has our best interests at heart
Listen to the words of the saints as they speak on providence:
'In all your affairs lean solely on God's Providence, by means of which alone your plans can succeed. Meanwhile, on your part work on in quiet co-operation with Him, and then rest satisfied that if you have trusted entirely to Him you will always obtain such a measure of success as is most profitable for you, whether it seems so or not to your own individual judgment.'-Francis de Sales
'It is then a truth of our faith that God is responsible for all the happenings we complain of in the world and, furthermore, we cannot doubt that all the misfortunes God sends us have a very useful purpose. We cannot doubt it without imputing to God a lack of judgment in deciding what is advantageous for us. In our ignorance of what the future holds, how can we be so bold as to question what comes about by God's permission? Surely it is reasonable to think that our complaints are groundless and that instead of complaining we ought to be thanking Providence.'-Claude de la Colombiere
'The Providence of God is never wanting to him who confides in God as he ought.'-St. Benedict Joseph Labre
'Do not be afraid to abandon yourself unreservedly to His loving Providence, for a child cannot perish in the arms of a Father Who is omnipotent.'-St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
In the words of one theologian, “God doesn’t roll dice.” Nothing happens by chance.....Ever. Think of providence as “the invisible hand” of God moving through the circumstances of life.
My question for you today is this “Will you trust God with the details of your life?”
There’s another way to say this. Either you run the universe or he does. A lot of people try to run the universe, but it never works out very well. Or you can bow before the Lord and say, “You are in charge. I am not. I will trust you with every detail of my life.”
Again, from today's readings, “How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!”
When we finally get to heaven, we’ll look back over the pathway of life and see that through all the twists and turns and seeming detours that He was with us all the way.